Love shopping enough to make a vacation out of it? A Shopping vacation or day trip may be just what you are looking for. Southeast Asia is a shopping haven, with both high end branded goods and dirt cheap, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore all have extensive arrays of exclusive shopping malls stocked with haute couture labels. On the other end of the spectrum, street markets remain a part of daily life (except in Singapore) and are the place to go for dirt cheap or counterfeit items.
SHOPPING IN BANGKOK
Shopping in Bangkok is totally unique. There is quite simply nowhere else on the planet that offers the same experience. Bangkok has worked hard to develop its reputation as one of Asia’s most inviting shopping destinations. The city is huge and offers every type of shopping experience regardless of your budget. There are literally dozens of modern, air conditioned shopping malls, offering everything imaginable. If you are traveling (and shopping) on a tight budget, then do not despair. There are still plenty of bargains for you to snap up. There are literally hundreds of street markets in Thailand, and Bangkok has some of the largest. And as to be expected, here is where you need to bring your finest bargaining skills.
SHOPPING IN SINGAPORE
Singaporeans have turned shopping into the national sport – they do get a lot of practice, what with the many shopping centers lining Orchard Road, the street markets in Chinatown and Bugis, and the underground malls tunneling beneath the City Hall district.
Shopping is so popular in Singapore, they’ve set aside a whole month to celebrate it – the Great Singapore Sale slashes prices island-wide by as much as 70%! Shopping hours are also extended past midnight for selected stores on selected weekends, and other major promotions are held during this time of the year only.
SHOPPING IN MANILA
Many tourists who feel that Bangkok and Hong Kong are the shopping destinations in Asia will be pleasantly surprised to find out they are mistaken. Manila is the mall capital of Asia (and probably the world). Almost every city block or two of Metro Manila has a mall and most of these close at 9pm. During holidays, malls usually close at 2200 and some offer midnight sales.
The humongous Mall of Asia at Roxas Boulevard defies explaining. One day is probably insufficient to visit all its stores. Bargain hunting in Manila would not be complete without a visit to the Divisoria Market, where items are sold in bulk or jaw-dropping prices.
SHOPPING IN KUALA LUMPUR
Shopping in KL is sheer fun and awfully exciting as well. One can enjoy bargain hunting within the cool comforts of ultra-modern, one-stop shopping complexes or the thrill of browsing among antiques and curio items in establishments in the older parts of the city. Mingle with the jostling crowd at the numerous roadside stalls or share in the heady excitement of the carnival like “pasar malam” or night markets.
The main shopping areas in Kuala Lumpur are the Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman area, Jalan Petaling or Jalan Bandar area, and Jalan Bukit Bintang area.
SHOPPING IN BALI
Shopping in Bali ranks the highest followed by Nightlife in Bali. Bali is legendary when it comes to shopping. Famous for designer fashions, handmade quality crafts, and inexpensive jewelry, Bali shops offer a huge range of bargains and unique items that you won’t find anywhere else.
Bali’s shopping centers and department stores are a wonderful place to start your Bali shopping spree. Air-conditioned and free of hawkers, goods from all over Indonesia are available at very reasonable prices. Many of the labels you see here are not merely rip-offs, they are often produced under license in this country and can therefore be sold at great savings. Even brand name cosmetics can be bought at excellent prices as they attract little duty in Indonesia. Shoes and children’s clothes are always a great buy in Bali’s department stores, the quality and variety attract many shoppers and the prices are hard to beat.
SHOPPING IN VIETNAM
Shopping in Vietnam is a fun and interesting experience, and guarantees good bargains to those who know what to look for. It is true to say that you can find nearly anything in Vietnam. Markets vary from high class shopping malls, supermarkets to bustling open market, galleries, boutiques and street stalls. The best place for shopping for antiques or replicas is in Hanoi while Saigon has the best buys for modern goods like CDs and clothing.
It is not recommended that you buy imported, famous branded products such as clothing, perfume or electronics in Vietnam as tax makes these items more costly than neighboring.